In our eyes, Shells is already a star. If Gold wasn’t already strong enough start for this singer-songwriter steeped in soul, the haunting prowl of Jagwar outdid it to become one of our favourite songs of the year. The London lass now delivers another great new track in Jailbird (below), making it three-for-three and enough for us to want to get to know her a bit better…
So, obvious first question: what’s your favourite type of shell? (Could include pasta or oil company, but we’re partial to a conch ourselves.)
Haha, love this. All the conches! The summer’s favourite is a Tortoise-Shell, my younger twin-brothers rescued a tortoise from a bind in France a few years ago and it returned to visit them this year!
Jokes aside, why the name?
Shells is from my surname, Sheldrake. My Grandpa was known as Shelly, and I was given a variety of ‘Shell’ based nicknames growing up. I liked the symbolism as well.
Tell us a bit more about your musical beginnings.
My Granny gave my parents her piano when my three sisters and I were young. We would play and sing together at home. My Mum and Dad had great record collections too, both with very different tastes, I used to play the albums on repeat and sing-along. My parents travelled a lot before we were born and when we were young, so I was inspired by music from across the world from a young age, I loved it. I studied Music at University, and met incredible musicians and teachers along the way. Shells is my first solo project, it feels so good to have begun releasing music.
So far the mood for Shells has been powerful but melancholic. What are you trying to get across, and what are you hoping people take away from it?
Haha, yes, the music can be melancholic at times, but the lyrics are written from the point of view of ‘hope’, that would be a nice thing for people to take from it. Hope.
What was going through your head when you saw the great reaction to Gold and Jagwar?
Joy! I was so happy, and really grateful to everyone who was listening then listening again!
Speaking of Jagwar: how much stick have you had for changing the spelling? Was that just a phonetic thing for the song?
I wrote Jagwar with friend/songwriter/producer James Earp. We both preferred the way ‘Jagwar’ sounded and wrote as opposed to ‘Jaguar’. I didd tayk a fuw calls on th dai of the releece from concerned freinds thynking that I’d dun it unintentionelly tho.
Crikey, that’s enough of that. What’s next for Shells?
Working on a few different projects with different people at the moment, and I’ll be releasing my first EP later in the year, I’m really looking forward to that.
What are you listening to at the moment?
‘Lost In The Light’ by Bahamas, ‘Get Away’ by The Internet, and Hozier’s acoustic ‘Cherry Wine’, on repeat.
Final question that we ask everyone: what’s your favourite Beyonce song?
Mood-dependent! Currently ‘Hold Up’ from Lemonade. She’s made such a great album and film there, and the image of Queen B in that yellow dress, holding a baseball-bat and driving a monster truck will always make me smile.